Planning your Casino Craps Game Part 2

Moving Beyond the Pass Line

It may sound good on paper, but playing a conservative pass line craps strategy can often seem a bit boring. It might work well for beginners looking to observe and learn, but after a while it loses it's lustre. Waiting patiently for your point to come up while the table roars and players frantically throw their money around doesn't really seem like much fun because it isn't. Those long waits during point rolls can also feel like missed opportunity. So what's a player to do? We've listed a few of our favorite simple craps strategies for players looking to graduate from the pass line without overly complicating things. We've run each of these through our craps strategy simulator in order to help demonstrate their effectiveness.

1. Come/Don't Come Bets

Once you're comfortable with pass line bets, come and don't come bets are the natural next step. A new come bet can be placed at every point roll and essentially acts as it's own passline bet. You can also place odds on the come just like with the passline. These bets have a low house edge which is made lower by placing odds. The downside is that if you have active come bets and passline bets, a 7-out will kill them all. You'll also be betting more and playing more so a larger bankroll is required. However, the strategy is still relatively conservative and keeps the play a little more interesting while the point is on.

Using our craps simulator we bet the $10 on the pass with 3x Odds and $500.00 cash to start. Plus we bet $10 on the come with 3x Odds. We only have one come bet active at any time, but we always have one active while the point is on. We're going to walk away after 4 hours or if our balance hits $1000.

This strategy allowed us to get in on the action much more frequently while still using a relatively conservative approach. The results are not markedly different from the pass line-only strategy we used in our last article. After 100 runs, the average playing time was about 2 and 1/2 hours and most of the time you walk away with a good chunk of cash. View the results of this simulation here.

Ending balance after 100 Craps games, starting with $200
Example 1: Ending balance after 100 Craps games, playing both the pass line and the come with odds.

Not quite as conservative as the pass line only strategy, but a lot more action and a lot more fun. Since you're bettig more, it might be a good idea to start this strategy with a larger bankroll,

2. Placing 6 or 8 (or Both)

Placing bets on individual numbers is another strategy that has a relatively low house edge and aside from seven, 6 and 8 have the highest probability of being rolled at any time. Both the Place 6 and Place 8 pay 7:6 have the lowest house edge among place bets (1.52%). These bets should be in multiples of 6 in order to receive the proper payout. Place bets are inactive during a come out and it's possible to have several place bets on the go. You can use our simulator to compare the various payouts for the different place bets.

We'll start exactly as in the above example ($500 and 4 hours), but in order to better demonstrate the low house edge on the Place 6 and 8 bets we'll skip the pass line bets and bet the place only. We've put $6 each on the Place 6 and the Place 8.

In this example we end up with $439 after 4 hours (our max). By itself, betting the Place is not very exciting, but combined with a pass line + odds strategy it can make the game more interesting without sacrificing too much. Many players will bet a Place on numbers aside from the point in order to give themselves an extra chance at a win. Of course, a 7-out will kill these bets along with your passline bet. View the full results of this simulation here.

Ending balance after 100 Craps games, starting with $200
Example 2: Ending balance after 100 Craps games, starting with $500 and betting only on the Place 6 and Place 8

The Place 6 and Place 8 are very conservative bets with a house edge only slightly higher than the pass line. Betting these can make point rolls more interesting and are a good choice for bettors looking to try something outside simpler pass line craps strategies.

3. "Iron Cross" or "Anything But 7"

This particular strategy doesn't involve the pass line at all, yet has a low house edge and keeps players in on the action since bets are placed after every roll. Players put bets on the Place 5 ($5), Place 6 ($6) and Place 8 ($6) and $5 on the Field for a total of $22. Anytime a bet is lost, you must re-bet the lost bets. With this strategy you win so long as a 7 is not rolled (hence the name). The Anything But 7 strategy is built right into our craps simulator.

Using the simulator to test this strategy we ended up with $461 after 4 hours (our max) on the first round. After 100 games, the median ending cash was $456 dollars.

You won't likely win big with this strategy, but it shouldn't cost you too much either. It can be a good option for craps players looking to break away from the pass line without risking too much. This strategy allows players to throw a lot more chips around and participate more then they would by waiting for a point to come up. View the full results of this simulation here.

Ending balance after 100 Craps games, starting with $200
Example 2: Ending balance after 100 Craps games, starting with $500 and using the Iron Cross strategy.

This strategy is pretty low risk, but keeps you moving since bets are continuously replaced.

So there you have it. Three low house-edge craps strategies that make the game a little more interesting for players looking to break away from a pass line plus odds strategy. Playing craps can be a lot of fun, but if you're feeling bored with your current approach then it's time to change up your game. If you're feeling lucky or want to live dangerously, there are other more aggressive approaches like the Martingale or "Reverse Martingale" betting systems which have players doubling bets after a win or loss. It can also be tempting to try for some of the single roll bets or hardways that pay higher odds, but have a higher house edge. In short runs these bets can pay off well and make the game a lot more exciting, but over the long run they get you. Try some of these bets in our craps simulator and see for yourself. You can also re-run the two examples above by clicking "run this simulation again" on the results page. The single session results can be vastly different from one craps game to the next, but the 100 session stats will be closer to our examples. Lastly, you might want to read Part 1 of our articles on Planning your Craps Game or Part 3 which considers some more drastic craps strategies.

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